Domestic flight operations declined by 67 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has said.
The NCAA’s Consumer Protection Department, in a document on Monday, disclosed that 10,366 flights operated in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the 15,434 flights operated in 2016 by the same eight domestic airlines.
The domestic airlines, the agency said, are Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, First Nation, Med-View and Overland.
Out of the 10,366 flights operated in the first quarter, there were 6 ,789 delays and 318 cancellations, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Air Peace, which operated 3, 262 flights, topped the chart of delayed flights with 2,036, while Arik Air recorded 1,059 delayed flights and 246 cancellations out of its 1,665 flight operations.
Dana Air, on its part, operated 1,525 flights with 1,017 delayed and five cancellations.
Meanwhile, the domestic airlines said that various factors militated against their successful operations in the country, which they listed to include high cost of aviation fuel, inadequate navigational aids and multiple charges by the various aviation agencies.
In his reaction, the President of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Nogie Meggison, said there was a need to create a more conducive environment for domestic airlines to thrive.
Mr. Meggison said that Nigerian carriers were restricted to daylight operations in most airports in the country while airlines in other West African countries operate 24 hours.
Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace, decried the issue of multiple charges imposed on the airlines, adding that it had put many of them out of business.
“If these taxes are not reduced , more airlines will crumble. No airline can survive this regime of taxes. Currently, we pay about 37 charges,” the Air Peace boss said.
He added that the taxes have been put in place before the present administration came on board and appealed to the government to streamline the charges as a form of support to the airlines.